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Lawrence Central runs past Snider in state title game

Panthers hang with top-ranked team for first half

Monday, November 26, 2012 - 2:28 am

INDIANAPOLIS – Top-ranked Lawrence Central amassed 539 yards of total offense to beat Snider 39-14 in the Class 5A State Championship Game on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Panthers were never able to consistently slow down the Bears offensively, forcing one punt on the night. That punt did not come until midway through the fourth quarter.

Snider trailed by seven at halftime despite allowing more than 300 yards of total offense, but Lawrence Central (15-0) scored twice within two minutes midway through the third to pull away.

The Panthers were led offensively by senior quarterback Brandon Phelps, who finished 19-of-32 for 194 yards and a touchdown.

The running game, which had led Snider throughout the season, never was able to get much traction against a Lawrence Central defense that entered Saturday allowing just over 100 yards per game. The Panthers finished with 96 yards rushing on 29 carries to average 3.3 yards per attempt.

Isaiah Townsend was huge for the Bears, carrying the ball 18 times for 193 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Quarterback Drake Christen finished with eight completions, but those went for 228 yards and a score.

Lawrence Central struck on its opening possession, marching 92 yards for a touchdown capped by a 49-yard TD pass from Christen to Tyja Thompson.

The Bears appeared to be moving towards a double-digit lead early, but fumbled inside the red zone and Snider's Jibri Bramley recovered.

But after a Phelps fumble deep in Snider territory, the Bears scored on a three-yard run by Christen to push the advantage to 14-0.

Snider responded with a long drive right before halftime to cut into the lead when Brandon Phelps found Alec Reuille in the end zone for a 2-yard score.

The Panthers had the momentum to begin the second half and moved inside the red zone, but Lawrence Central picked off a Phelps pass and returned it deep into Snider territory.

The turnover led to a Bears touchdown to push the lead back to double digits. The advantage never shrunk below 12 points after that.

Snider finishes the season 14-1 and earns its fifth runner-up finish in its history. Lawrence Central notches its first-ever state championship in its second appearance.